Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog - Filmore

Unintended Consequences

One of the main takeaways from the Washington Supreme Court's recent decision in Bilanko v. Barclay Court is that a declaration amendment that is adopted in a manner that does not exceed its legal authority and and does not appear to be borne out of fraud or other wrongdoing cannot be challenged more than one year after it is recorded. This is welcome news to associations, which had been thrown onto unsteady legal ground after the Court's earlier decision in Club Envy v. Ridpath called into question the enforceability of rental cap amendments that were over one-year old, but had not been passed with at least 90% owner consent. read more

Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association

In last week's post "Hot Off the Press," we advised readers that the Washington Supreme Court published on that day Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association,an important decision relating to challenges to declaration amendments involving Washington "New Act" condominiums. The decision can be found here. Over the past week we've had time to analyze the opinion and have come up with a few summary points. read more

Supreme Court Publishes Filmore Opinion

Today, the Washington State Supreme Court published its ruling in Filmore LLLP v. Unit Owners Association of Centre Pointe Condominium. The opinion may be found here. For condominium owners and managers within the State of Washington, this is one of the most highly anticipated court decisions in years. The issue before the Court was whether a declaration amendment that imposes a rental cap, or ceiling, requires 67% approval, or constitutes a change in use, requiring a supermajority 90% approval of unit owners. The Court had an opportunity to decide what constitutes a "use," as that term is used in the Washington Condominium Act ("WCA"), but sidestepped the question, and instead, limited its analysis to the specific language of Centre Pointe Condominium's declaration. The court stated: But we need not interpret the WCA here because, in contrast to RCW 64.34.264(4), the Declaration itself identifies a number of "uses" that come within the special supermajority voting requirement in [the Declaration]. Where does the ruling leave condominium associations within Washington today? 1. The ruling is limited to condominiums governed by the WCA; thus, "Old Act" condominiums and homeowner associations should remain unaffected. 2. The Filmore decision turned on specific language of the Declaration. Consequently, all WCA, or "New Act", condominium associations will have to look beyond RCW 64.34.264(4), and consider how their particular Declaration defines or refers to "uses" in determining what percentage of owner vote is required to approve a Declaration amendment. 3. Piggybacking on number (2) above, it is conceivable that persons will use the Filmore opinion to challenge almost any Declaration amendment, arguing the amendment changes the "use" of a unit, thus triggering a 90% supermajority approval; especially in instances where the proposed amendment covers a provision identified or referred to in the Declaration as a "use." Given the differences in language utilized in various condominium Declarations, any New Act condominium that is contemplating amending its declaration should consider the impact of Filmore on its proposed changes or modifications. If you have questions, we highly recommend you seek qualified legal assistance. I or one of my colleagues at Barker Martin remain available for assistance on this, or any related community association matters. read more

< Previous | Next >
Go to Page: